A preliminary death certificate of the Watsonville man killed at Deadman Campground last week said he died minutes after being shot in the abdomen.

Thomas Edward Smith, 36, died at approximately 2:30 a.m. “during the commission of a crime,” according to the death certificate.

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office said Smith went into a tent occupied by a sleeping man and woman at about 2 a.m. The woman woke up with the man on top of her, the Sheriff’s Office said. She screamed to wake up her boyfriend and Smith was shot during the subsequent struggle.

Sgt. Andrea Benson with the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office said the couple in the tent were Tuolumne County residents and did not know the man.

She said the names of the couple will not be released.

Benson confirmed the gunshot wound was not self-inflicted, but did not release who fired the gun. The death certificate checked a box indicating homicide as the cause of death. Boxes for accident or natural causes were not checked.

No charges have been filed.

“Once the investigation is completed it will be sent to the DA for review. If any charges are recommended or filed that will come from the DA’s Office,” Benson said in an email.

She said no further information would be released at this time.

Tuolumne County District Attorney Laura Krieg was not available for comment on Thursday.

Benson said additional information may be available for release after the case is reviewed by the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office.

The death certificate indicated Ave Maria Memorial Chapel in Watsonville took possession of the body. A representative of the chapel said they handled a private service for the family and there was no obituary for Smith.

The death certificate was signed by Tuolumne County Coroner Sgt. Jeff Wilson, who could not be reached for comment.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office announced that Smith had been arrested two years to the day earlier on charges relating to him exposing himself to a girl.

San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Rosemerry Blankswade on Thursday said Smith was arrested on misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and soliciting another to engage in lewd conduct on July 11, 2017.

Blankswade provided a July 2017 press release that said Smith was arrested at approximately 11:30 p.m. at a campground at Portola State Park in La Honda. The incident was witnessed by the child’s parent and Smith was arrested at a nearby campsite.

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office press release said Smith was also charged with attempted kidnapping.

Blankswade said she had no record that Smith was charged with attempted kidnapping, but the information provided by the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office may have come from the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the San Mateo County Superior Court website, Smith was charged with misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and soliciting another to engage in lewd conduct on July 11, 2017.

The court website said Smith pleaded no contest to the conduct charge and the indecent exposure charge was dismissed as part of a negotiated plea.

He was sentenced to 20 days in the San Mateo County Jail and two years of probation from his sentencing date of July 21, 2017.

The website also indicates he was denied release on his own recognizance on July 13 during the court hearings and was released the day of his sentencing.

Deadman Campground is located next to Kennedy Meadows Resort & Packstation, 29 miles east of Pinecrest in the Stanislaus National Forest.

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.



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